Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Guatemala Day 2: Pouring the Concrete

The view near our worksite
The 2nd day was our first day of building. I woke up around 6:30AM and ate breakfast at 7AM - we had pancakes! We left for our worksite around 8AM. We drove about 25 minutes to the building site. The bus ride alone was so cool. Passed tons of villages. The houses are made of tin, bamboo and concrete bricks. The families were all out watching our bus go by. They all stared at us. Some of them wave hi. Their clothes are strung outside to dry. Dirt floor houses. Women carry baskets on their heads. There is trash everywhere. People ride dirtbikes to get around. There are lots of dogs. Children carrying babies on their backs. All the girls and women are in skirts and blouses. I don't think children go to school or women work. Some men work. Their only need is food, which they find in different ways.

Preparing reinforcement for concrete
After the concrete was poured
We took dirt roads to the site. Walked off the bus and was in shock of God's creation. So beautiful. Lush green mountains with villages stuck to the side. Clouds below us! Hiked down a dirt road/mountain. Very steep. All 20 of us. Passed several houses. Everyone watches us walk by. We got to a house then took a dirt path (very VERY narrow) down around a few houses then down a dirt staircase down the side of a mountain! So steep! 

Hauling our equipment and tools down the mountain
Got to our building site (literally a dug-out spot on the side of the mountain) and took instructions from Jason and Scott (Casas guys). We did a devotion about the paralitic man. We were introduced to the parents of the house. We unloaded materials and equipment to start building the house. We all lined up down the dirt stairs to make it easier to transfer lumber down the mountain. 

Some of the kids from our team
This is kind of the process of what we did on the first day:
1. Surveyed land
2. Marked perimeter of the house with wood
3. Dug a trench around the wood
4. Cut rubar to reinforce concrete
5. Leveled dirt
*Ate lunch (homemade burritos with green sauce which turned out to be fire hot and also cookies) 
6. Leveled dirt more
7. Mixed concrete (my favorite part!)
8. Leveled off concrete with trowels
9. Cleaned up
10. Hiked tools back up the mountain!

Finished concrete slab!
Mixing the concrete was crazy fun! The entire village showed up to watch on the side of the mountain. I think they heard the generator start going when we started to mix the concrete. They watched from the edge of the treeline and up the mountain. Our concrete recipe was 1 bucket water, 1 bucket cement, 4 buckets rocks & 4 buckets sand. We figured out a rotating system somehow that worked well. After we finished we had to hike up the mountain back to our bus! So hard to breathe with less oxygen up in the mountains. Just when I thought I couldn't breathe anymore, I realized we were not even halfway up the hill! 

The compound we stayed in for the week
Had a nuts bus ride back to the compound. One was dirt roads made for 2-way traffic - with houses on both sides. Two buses heading for eachother. One of them was ours. Literally took 20 minutes to figure it out. Had to back up and go forward. Finally got past the other bus. Everyone was exhausted. Kids were climbing on our bus and on the top of the bus while it was moving. Crazy! 

Made it back to the compound. Ate chicken, green beans and baked potatoes for dinner. Oh, and of course tortillas (always with every meal). They had kool-aid which I steered clear of (not sure what kind of water they used to make it!). We ate dinner and had brownies for dessert. Best brownies ever. 

Trusty transportation around Guatemala! 
Thoughts: Looking around I am just so glad God called me to San Raymundo. Beautiful mountains. Happy Guatemalans. A simple way of living. Love is everywhere. Laughter. Spending time outside. Kids running around barefoot. Kids hiding in trees. Girls (little girls) carrying babies. Dogs laying around - some right on the building site. Little boys helped us shovel rocks. Enjoying life, God's people and his creation.

Psalm 33 - Happiness is what I see in the Guatemalans. The earth is full of His unfailing love (v5). I always picture earth as a pale blue dot; I want to make a difference while I am here (v13-15). Fear the LORD (v18). May your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in you (v22).

Isaiah 12 - The Lord is my strength and my song, he has become my salvation (v2). Sing to the Lord, for he has done glorious things (v5).

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